Sunday, August 1, 2010

King Daniel Memoir

I can remember clearly the first time I checked King Daniel. I think it was about 2001, I was 14. I was just getting into Hip Hop culture...

The setting was the daytime Saturday open mic sessions at All Nations when it was still on Lower Main (I can't remember the event's name but let's just say: those were the days). My friend and I would catch a train from Plumstead-se-kante and spend the afternoon soaking up the energy, in a way only young minds can. The room was hot-boxed, graf writers scribbling in their notebooks with bloodshot eyes. Ciphers in each corner. This was an event for consciousness.

I was studying the rappers, trying to grasp where they found the words, plucking them out the ether. King Daniel stepped up in his shy but intent way and took the mic. I don’t think I heard any of his words but already I knew King Daniel.

He dropped his personal scriptures in the characteristic multi-syllable style that he must have loved. His legs were always STRAIGHT, swaying side-to-side, backwards-and-forwards. Shoulders scrutched, mic clasped in two hands. Hoodie over his head. His rhyming persona says a lot about the way his mind worked. Quick, honest, deep and thoughtFULL.

I was fascinated and it must have (in some small way) contributed to my interest in something I call the art of artistry.

That’s what this blog is about, essentially.

I didn’t know who the first artist I would feature would be and then Life decided for me. This post is a memoir of a legend of eKapa; to hopefully record a digital artefact that will keep the memory alive. This recollection is based on my thoughts and memories, so its not fact but not-at-all fiction either.

King Daniel would be everywhere where things were happening. Always seeking the freshness, something that pushes the boundaries and opens minds. I think King Daniel was on a constant search for open minds. I don’t know though.

I’m listening to one of his albums while writing this. Heavy days. A freedom fighter, fighting for the freedom of his own soul. A compassionate heart, hurt by the pain of poverty in the world. Confused by society’s ways, because let’s face it, it doesn’t make that much sense. Lots of anger at this – the inequities and injustices. A son of the soil:

“I’m not to be mistaken for a beach bum/and/I get on the microphone & teach something/bringing a brand new game called Police Hunting/ever since my date of birth in East London.”

But then he speaks about many other things as well, his experiences and things that he actually went through. As those who knew him know, he lived a full life. He did it all, and more. Everytime I saw him, he was on some new hustle. A constantly creative man on the hunt for creativity, like a dog chasing its tail, it's a hunt that can never end.

There is much more that could be said, but the album is coming to an end and that is the time I set for the words to come through me onto this pixelised page.

The point I’d like to make is: King Daniel gave Bongani an outlet of expression and in his creative works, he lives on.

King Daniel gave us a glimpse into the other world behind his mind's eye. May he inspire us to keep searching for the truest art, that which fully expresses self, or in his words:

“Activity of creativity/since nativity/agility and versatility/verse soliloquy...vividly clear delivery.”

Lala ngoxolo King.


  1. very well written man. i didn't know him as well as some, but i remember when i first met him... i wasn't sure what to think; he was sweet and funny and ridiculous and insulting! :) eventually a soft spot overcame that and every time he came through, all i heard was "hello your flyness" and i never needed to turn around; i knew it was him greeting me.

    much love, king.

  2. Cool dude, this.
    I met him on Campus. I think I was in a computer lab or something... long time ago.
    Whenever I went to Long street he was always in the scene. Doing things. Always looking busy. I even have a picture with him trying boerevors roll business. At one point I thought he owned the street.